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Covering pro teams helping in the community

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by smsu_scribe, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    I'm a freshman reporter for the college paper at my university in southern Minnesota. This Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings are coming to town to speak at the middle school about staying physically active. There won't be any superstars there, no Adrian Peterson, but several defensive starters and owner Mark Wilf, as well. My experience is limited to gamers and profiles thus far. I'm going to get a chance to talk with these players after the event, and am trying to formulate some questions around the topic of why feel it is important to be active in their communities and give back. I'm just having a bit of trouble getting past just generic questions that are likely to receive robotic answers.

    Anyone here ever covered an event like this? What sort of angles did you go for and what kind of interview questions are most effective in this scenario?
  2. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Active Member

    Start by asking if any of them were community volunteers while growing up or benefitted from community volunteers or organizations (Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Red Cross, etc.). Maybe one of them put some life saving skills he learned as a youngster.
    I know the local Catholic high school here requires its students to do so many hours of community service per year, so maybe some of Vikings did the same thing when they were younger.
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Screw them and talk to the students - was it cool for them, what did they think, etc.?
  4. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Try to talk to at least one or two of the players, but Moddy's right --- the students are definitely the best part of the story, and if you do it right, that's where the best stuff will come from... just talk to them, not specific questions, that's where you'll get the best stuff.

    By the way: all the players there will still be pro football players... why is a big deal to you that their won't be any "superstars?" Just wondering.
  5. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    Use quotes from the players talking to the kids -- either in 1-on-1s or to a group of kids.

    Get reax from the kids.
  6. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I like this idea best.

    Scribe, realize you're going to get a lot of canned, cliched answers from the players. They have likely been coached by the Vikings' media services and community relations staff to say how important it is to speak to students and how it's the part of the job they enjoy most and how it feels great to make a difference in the community.

    This is the type of feel-good fluff piece that happens once in a while. You're not going to dig up any dirt, no player is going to drop a bombshell like "don't do steroids like I do" and the real angle for your local paper is about the local people.

    And budcrew, don't be so harsh on the kid about the superstar factor. He/she goes to Southwest Minnesota State. My high school had more students. It's OK for Scribe to be a little geeked out about this, as long as he/she acts professionally on the job.
  7. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Be sure to be in the classroom before the players get there.

    Your lede will probably be written describing the faces of the children when these massive, massive men walk into the room.

    That's the one thing that still to this day strikes me about NFL linemen and linebackers - they are massive. It's like seeing a seven-footer in public for the first time. You just hesitate when you see them.
  8. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I am in total agreement with Moddy. The kids will remain long after the Vikings are gone. Listen to what they tell you. That's how you can really tell if the team's visit had an impact.
  9. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Not being harsh... just asking the question based on what they posted.
  10. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    By the way, Mark Wilf is not the owner.

    Correction: Mark is listed as the owner, but daddy bought the team and called him an owner.
  11. Rough Mix

    Rough Mix Guest

    Mark and Zygi Wilf are brothers I believe.

  12. Rough Mix

    Rough Mix Guest

    I should add that Zygi is the guy when it comes down to it. The younger brother, Mark, is involved, but Zygi is guy.

    Their lease at the Dome runs out in a couple of years and they are lobbying for a new stadium. Have been for a long time, but chances are slim and none in the current climate.
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